Experience Te Papa’s new touring Māori exhibition

21 March 2011

Te Papa presents a preview of its new touring exhibition E Tū Ake: Standing Strong before it commences an international tour in October. E Tū Ake: Standing Strong is a powerful exhibition that showcases ancestral Māori treasuresalongside selected contemporary Māori artworks to reflect the artistic breadth and political aspirations of this vibrant indigenous culture. E Tū Ake: Standing Strong will open on Saturday 9 April and runs until Sunday 26 June 2011 in the Visa Platinum Gallery, Level 4 at Te Papa. Admission is free.

’The exhibition, curated from Te Papa’s Māori and art collections, explores the richness of Māori culture through their own voices, the ancestral treasures, contemporary Māori art, and stories of New Zealand’s indigenous people.

This exhibition has been developed to share the knowledge, stories and treasures of Māori culture with international audiences, but will be proudly premiered here at Te Papa before its first international showing in France at Museum Quai Branly from 3 October 2011,’ said Ms Michelle Hippolite, Te Papa’s Kaihautū (Māori co-leader).

At the heart of this beautiful exhibition lies the long-held call from Māori for tino rangatiratanga (the ability to choose one’s own destiny). Featuring over 250 objects, ranging from customary taonga (treasures) to contemporary artworks, the exhibition exploring tino rangatiratanga as it is expressed through three key Māori concepts – whakapapa (genealogy), mana (spiritual force), and kaitiakitanga (guardianship). It presents not only the histories, identities, and world views of Māori, but also the political aspirations of this strong and resilient culture.

Some significant taonga in the exhibition have rarely been seen and tell stories of the journey and cultural endurance of Māori. These are the Pouwhenua(ceremonial boundary marker), carried by marchers from the Cape to Wellington during the 1978 Land March; the Wi Te Manewha life mask; and a 5.5m high waka whakamaumahara (memorial cenotaph).

Twenty-five contemporary Māori artworks included in the exhibition depict the diversity of current contemporary Māori art practice in medium, content, and artistic intent. Featured contemporary artworks, it includes the work of renowned artists Shane Cotton, Robyn Kahukiwa, Lisa Reihana, Saffron Te Ratana, Darryn George, John Miller, Fiona Pardington, Reuben Paterson, Matthew McIntyre Wilson, Natalie Robertson and Kohai Grace.

Te Papa Press is releasing the accompanying catalogue E Tū Ake: Māori Standing Strong edited by Dr. Huhana Smith. Based on the exhibition, this is an eye-opening and highly accessible account of the Māori world, both traditional and contemporary. The book also showcases Te Papa’s most prized ancestral taonga (treasures) including carvings, jewellery, weaponry, and more. The catalogue will be available from Te Papa Store in April.

Te Papa would like to acknowledge Pelorus Trust as the Principle Funding Partner and the support from Te Puni Kōkiri, Wellington City Council, and Visa Entertainment.


Media contact

Roxan Mathys, Communications Assistant
(04) 381 7083

Anna Wilson, Manager Marketing and Communications
(04) 381 7295